‘Rational’ Republicans Demand GOP Start Acting Like ‘Principled’ Party Of Reagan, Blah, Blah, Blah

Right Wing Extremism

The GOP is becoming a post-democracy party, if it's not one already, that conducts Soviet-style purges of dissidents within its own ranks. There is no GOP really, only a personality cult for President Zuul. This alarms the so-called “good" Republicans who appear on MSNBC and lament how the party of Lincoln (sure) and Reagan (gag) has lost its way. But don't worry, these “good" Republicans are done talking. They're ready for fiery action in the form of a stern letter with a set of polite demands that the MAGA-fied GOP will ignore.

The letter is headlined "A Call For American Renewal" and will boast the signatures of more than 100 former Republican officials. At least 74 million people voted for the one-term loser last year, so they probably need more significant opposition than the guest list for a medium-sized garden party. We guess you have to start somewhere.

Miles Taylor, a former official in the previous horror show administration, is one of the organizers behind the letter. You'll recall that Taylor was the cowardly author of an anonymous but still self-serving opinion piece in the New York Times in 2018, where he described himself as part of the “resistance" within the evil empire. He kept them from building an even bigger Death Star. He got a book deal, so that's nice for him.

This is Taylor's no-shit-Sherlock statement to Reuters:

"The Republican Party is broken. It's time for a resistance of the 'rationals' against the 'radicals.'"

Taylor's really into the term “resistance." Anyway, the “rational" Republicans want everyone else to cut ties with the twice-impeached thug, and when that doesn't happen, the “rational" Republicans threaten to form a separate third party. They first discussed the idea in February, shortly after the January 6 Capitol siege. Evan McMullin, who ran as an independent in 2016 rather than supporting Hillary Clinton, co-hosted a Zoom call where they proposed a platform of "principled conservatism," including adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law, all of which are as fashionable as parachute pants in the current GOP.

The letter signatories, who include former ambassadors, governors, congressional members and Cabinet secretaries, want the Republican Party to return to "principled" leadership and reject division and conspiracy theories, or face a new party dedicated to fighting for Republicans such as [Liz] Cheney and against fearmongering and lies.

That's all fine and good, though somewhat pointless against the current threat. They should've spoken up when their “principled" party was helping creating this monster. Now, it's too late for pitchforks. David Frum noted back in 2010, during Barack Obama's first term, that "Republicans originally thought [Fox News] worked for us. Then we discovered that we work for Fox."

The GOP's coalition was what Rick Wilson called a three-legged stool: There were the robber baron types who wanted low taxes and no regulations; the individual liberty types who felt no civic obligation to anyone; and the religious zealots who wanted to impose a theocracy. They didn't always get along but they were united at least by a shared contempt for the poor and minorities.

Fox News and conservative media fed their outrage, and the mad MAGA king was the perfect vessel for their resentment. The GOP voter base doesn't want “principled leadership." They want leaders who'll inflict pain on their enemies. In an op-ed defending House Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted today from GOP leadership, former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake admitted that MAGA chased him out of the party.

I had hoped that, over time, my Republican constituents would feel differently about the former president, or at least value a Republican who pushed back, and that I could stand for reelection in 2018 with a reasonable chance of surviving a Republican primary. It soon became apparent that Republican voters wanted someone who was all in with a president that I increasingly saw as a danger to the republic. That could not be me, so I spoke out instead and didn't stand for reelection.

Flake was an incumbent senator who quit like a quitter before he got his ass beat in a GOP primary. He didn't even try to run as an independent, like a common Joe Lieberman, which tells you what chance a “rational" conservative third party has. Flake was accused of enabling the former White House squatter, consistently voting in line with him. The problem is that ideologically, the one-term loser was a typical horrible Republican. Tax cuts for the wealthy, denying Americans affordable health care, and restricting voting rights aren't “principled" positions no matter how politely you express them. Besides, if we've learned anything from the past five years, it's that few Republican voters actually care about policy. They're hooked on the cruelty.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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